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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

332       HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

it revealed, but the cosmopolitan ideal of a supernational organiza-
tion, though obviously at fault in so far as it ignored and belittled
nationality, was still for many a vital article of faith. Religion,
again, had proved that it was not effete, but science and the secular
spirit, rightly or wrongly regarded as antagonistic to it, did not
cease to be potent forces in social life. In short, the Revolution
when past left Europe in a condition of unstable equilibrium.
Old and new ideals stood over against each other in an attitude
of hostility, incapable of any easy reconciliation the one with the
other, yet both with such measure of truth in them that neither
could be entirely rejected. As it was at the beginning of the
century, so it continued to be throughout its course. The inner
life of the peoples in all lands was confused by a multitude of
conflicting claims—the claims of society and the individual, of
aristocracy and democracy, of Church and State, of religion and
science, of nation and supernation, etc. And in spite of constant
attempts at reconciliation and synthesis, the end of the struggle
is not yet in sight.

This clashing of ideals, which made divisions of sect and
party a normal feature of all phases of life in the Nineteenth
Century, was nowhere more marked than in the sphere of educa-
tion. This, indeed, was only to be expected. The educational"
system of a country is always to some extent a microcosm of the
larger social system, and conflicting views are quickly reproduced
in it. The fact that amidst all the differences of opinion at this
time there was a more general conviction with regard to the
potency of education to shape the future than there had been at
any time since the Reformation, made it inevitable that the
struggle of contending factions should be carried into the schools.
In the first decades of the century, it is true, the inherent antagon-
isms did not appear in all their strength, partly, it may be, because
they were not yet completely developed, partly also, however,
because the disturbance of settled conditions caused by twenty
years of war had produced a certain community of view which
for the time being went deeper than any differences of opinion.
In particular, there was fairly general agreement in most European
countries, and especially in the Protestant north, that both for
its own sake and for the sake of the individual well-being of its
subjects, the State ought to make itself responsible for the work
of education; and, further, that special provision such as only